Parents of autistic kids more likely to divorce
Married couples with autistic children are more likely to divorce when their offspring reach adolescence than those whose children do not have disabilities, new research shows.
According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, there are no significant differences in separation rates until children reach the age of eight.
After this age, the likelihood that parents of children without disabilities will divorce falls. For parents of autistic children, the probability remains high.
Sigan Hartley, a professor of family studies at the University of Wisconsin, explained: "Typically, if couples can survive the early child-rearing years, parenting demands decrease and there is often less strain on the marriage.
"However, parents of children with autism often continue to live with and experience high parenting demands into their child's adulthood, and thus marital strain may remain high in these later years."
The authors of the study did stress however that parents are not destined for divorce just because their child has autism, as three-quarters of the couples studies did remain married once their offspring grew up.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has predicted that by 2033, the divorce rate for couples over the age of 65 will have doubled, while the rate for 35 to 44-year-olds will have halved.
Posted by Christopher Evans
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Published on: August 10, 2010
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